India’s Under-19 and ‘A’ squad head coach Rahul Dravid believes young rising wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has the required temperament and skills to transfer his shorter format success to the longest format of the game.
Earlier this month, India’s 18-member squad for the first three match of the five-Test rubber was announced. Rishabh Pant was selected as the second choice wicket-keeper batsman alongside Dinesh Karthik. Pant was rewarded with the Test call following a successful run with the willow in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
It is his maiden call to the national Test squad and Dravid is backing him to deliver if chances come his way. Dravid said the 20-year-old adapted admirably to come out with crucial knocks when he was part of India ‘A’ tour.
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“Rishabh was quite excellent on the tour. He is obviously a very talented player. He showed in three or four innings that he was willing to bat differently. We all know the way he bats. Even in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season when he got over 900 runs his S/R was 100 plus and we have seen him bat similarly in the IPL as well,” Dravid said in an interview posted on the website of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“On this trip, we challenged him a lot to bat according to the situation. He got a critical 64 (not out) in the one-day final when he was the last recognized batsman and also against West Indies A when he put on a 100-run partnership with Jayant Yadav,” the former national team captain added.
“He showed that he could bat differently. He has the temperament and skills to bat differently. He is always going to be an attacking player but reading of the situation when you are playing red ball cricket is required. We are glad he has been picked in the national team and I hope he takes this maturity into the national team and hopefully builds from thereon.”
Not only Pant, other India ‘A’ players Shardul Thakur and Karun Nair are also in the Test squad. Dravid said the senior side would get a lot of benefit from selecting players from these “shadow tours”.
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“It is a great idea to have shadow tours. It may not be always possible, but whenever it is possible, it is highly beneficial. A lot of players have joined the national side from this team. It also gave an opportunity to Ajinkya Rahane and M Vijay to come down and spend time with us and play a practice game that was competitive and tough,” he said.
“Having the India A team tour before the national side opens up many possibilities in terms of preparations for both the sides. It also serves as motivation for many players, for they know when they do well on A tours, they will be picked in the national team.”
The 45-year-old said the India ‘A’ tour, during which they won the one-day tri-series and three four-day games, they got three different results and it was a good exposure tour.
“Winning the one-day series was nice and we got a couple of good results against West Indies A. It was a bit disappointing to lose our last game of the tour against England Lions,” he said.
“From a coaching perspective, there were a lot of lessons that we learnt through the course of this trip. There were some challenging wickets that we got to play on and the quality of the opposition was very good as well,” he added.
“On tours like these, I feel the critical element is not so much the result, but it is really about the exposure and opportunities that you give to the players. Most of them are pushing for selection into the national side. It is an opportunity for them to learn how to play in these conditions against a tougher opposition and to see where they actually stand.
“The level here is above the first-class level and just below the international level. When you consider all the factors, I feel we had a really good tour.”
-With IANS inputs.